Hello welcome to my Blog

Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Bangkok Sights

The flight was chocker as they say. Indians off on a jaunt,  just like us, to Bangkok. For the majority, I suspect, it is shopping in the countless malls that are dotted around the city - judging by the number of plasma screens that came back with us on our flight they must be a bargain out there.

For us it is a break from the hooting and the pot holes. A chance to savour the spicy but simple Thai food and to enjoy its ordered society and polite people while exploring the history and culture of the city. Something I love about Thailand is that they are not afraid to use colours in their lives and bright ones at that. Their taxis are the most luminescent fuschia and orange, green and yellow and occasionally blue. It must have an underlying attraction to the customer as well as being eye catching. The Tuk tuks are equally colourful and quite comfortable as well .

On this trip we explored the canals of Bangkok. One major river runs through the city, the Chao Phraya river. This is fed or connected to a number of waterways which are a great way to travel - no traffic and no congestion- very cheap about 12 bhat a ride and very quick too. On the way I took in the wooden houses   with their wardrobes on display and their rickety balconies which are a delight in themselves.
We explored the city's sights by taking the "klongs", the canal boats,  up and down and then walking or taking a tuk tuk to our destination. The city was looking especially festive as it was Queen Sirikits 80th birthday. The Thais take their royals very seriously and they are deeply revered. There were pictures of the Queen everywhere at every stage of her life and the city was preparing for big celebrations.

We took the opportunity to visit the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho which is truly impressive in its size and golden splendour.
More on the sights and the heights in my next blog entry.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Taxes = Infrastructure =/= not here

I have lived in India for three years and in that time I have written about the road I travel on every day.  The road has open sewers, so floods quite badly but especially so in the monsoons. In the first year we came the road was repaired almost as soon as the monsoon was over. The second  year the road was so bad they put down broken bricks and building debris in the huge pot holes that had developed.This third year the road has deteriorated to such an extent that most people avoid it, thereby actually causing more damage to neighbouring roads which are less frequented. Year in, year out, the road floods, men dig into the sewers, extract the dirt at the side of the road, the water flows for a bit until all the dirt falls back in and we are back to square one.

Year ONE

The other week I took my son for lunch and we enjoyed a very nice Bento Box at a lovely restaurant. For the meal which was quite moderately priced I paid a good portion of that bill in taxes.I would not mind one bit if I could confidently say that the taxes are needed and USED for the infrastructure of the city.

Sadly three years later and I can confidently say the road is worse than it was when we first arrived. Why don't the residents complain, where are the welfare associations, why is this not properly addressed once and for all ?



Meantime up the road in Vasant Khunj another mega mall is in the process of blocking out the sky line. Just not right the right way round in my humble opinion.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Indian enterprise

Indians are an enterprising people and they come up with interesting business ventures to plug holes in the market or in this case catch insects - after my salad bowl centipede this popped into my home with the morning paper. The title "ESCORT" might start your imagination moving in interesting directions but hold your horses or your vermin, its all about rats or rets as they say. No need to Vaca  Te your kitchen and I am intrigued about the GPC, a GPS for insects ?? 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Independence Day celebrations 2012

The Rashtrapati Bhavan was looking majestic, the serpent fountains were working, the big urns on the roof were full of water cascading over, though one was clearly overflowing, the dignitaries were arriving in their hundreds and being led, this time, to the wonderful Moghul gardens.
The clouds overhead were threatening, but the rain held off and the buglers sounded the arrival of the new president of India, Pranab Mukherjee from the roof top, while other dignitaries took their place under two maroon canopies. But in a move designed to give his guards a headache the new President listened to the national anthem and then headed straight for the crowds and walked happily among the invitees.Smiling and with his hands in a namaste, I namasted back and on he went. He is tiny, but resolute and clearly wants to do things a little differently.
Sonia Gandhi, Meira Kumar, the leader of the House and other officials sat under the canopies and kept their respective distance.
What I take away from this day was his openness and the exquisite carpet made exclusively of flowers that lay on the grass- a work of art to say the least. No cameras allowed so you will have to imagine its yellow, orange and white splendour woven into patterns, replete with white tassles.
Pictures from a previous visit.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Happy Independence Day India 2012

Happy Independence Day to India today as it celebrates its 65th year of Independence. And just to make sure I was not taking it for granted in anyway, look what I found in my salad bowl as I reached for it.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Acropolis

No trip to the Greek world would be complete without a visit to the Acropolis and the last time we were here my eldest was a knight in shining armour brandishing a plastic sword on its ramparts. Interestingly he was the most keen to return. If you go, do not miss the new Acropolis Museum which is a simple in its architecture but a wonderful place using natural light to enhance its exhibits. It has incorporated the digs from down under in its construction which means that you could see the archaeological remains through the glass floors. Two floors up I found that a little disconcerting. The Parthenon friezes are just breathtaking and the film is worth watching.

Lovely old tin pots of feta cheese which make plant pots for cacti

 The entrance

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Scorpios - Onassis island

I have seen pictures of Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy alighting on the island from the yacht bearing Onassis's daguhters name "Christina", I have followed the tragic history of both families and often wondered about this little island paradise and now many many years later I came across it and swam to its beaches. The island of Scorpios is legendary in the life of one of the richest men in the world at the time- Aristotle Onassis. His origins were in Asia Minor and he made his wealth in Argentina and then eventually back in Greece as one of the biggest shipowners of all times.
His one and only son, Alexander was killed in the plane he was piloting and his daughter Christina lead a tormented and unhappy life eventually dying in Argentina under mysterious circumstances. Onassis himself died in 1975 and the only person left of the family is Athina Roussel, his grandaughter who now also lives in Argentina very much away from the public media.
The notice warns bathers and boaters that this is a private island so they cannot alight but beaches and the sea in Greece are public so effectively boats moor in its waters and swimmers swim to its beaches but guards will stop you from going further.
I wonder who ever comes to the island ? It is beautiful and green with lots of vegetation and protected areas.  It is a place which seems to be tinged with sadness, but perhaps that is my own take on it.

We also visited the cave of Papanicolaou who was a Greek fighter who took refuge in this stunning cave and caused great damage to German war boats.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Myrtos Bay, a fleeting look at Fiscardo and Ayia Eutuchia

Having had the longest swim ever at Myrtos Bay we resolved never to let my sister be leader again. We came back exhausted. Sailed to Fiscardo but felt it was too busy a port and headed to Ayia Eutuchia where we went to a restaurant called Perasma for anchovies and sardines, fried courgettes and octopus.
The next day was special as it was my sister's birthday so we headed off to Kastos and Kalamnos some small, largely uninhabited islands and as the winds had picked up we sailed with good winds behind us watching the shoals of tuna fish jumping in the water.
We feasted on a puttanesca, a melon Birthday cake with candles and fireworks. The sun was setting and we were heading towards Kalamnos when Nick spotted a spout as he called it. We circled around a couple of times and to our absolute amazement and delight we saw Mediterannean Monk Seals, two of them, swimming and diving around. The boys got into the dinghy and headed over closer to take some pictures. They are quite rare so we were delighted to have spotted them.The winds, the tuna and the Monk Seals made the day.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Afales and Asos

The coast line was breathtaking and the temptations to swim too great. So we went for a long exploratory swim at Afales, snorkelling along the way, picking up shells and looking at the goats making their way up and down the scraggy rocks.

We feasted on meatballs and potatoes cooked with sage and a sinful amount of Greek peaches. In the evening, quite early we sailed into Asos, Kefalonia and anchored there for the night. A tiny picturesque village nestled in the horseshoe of a bay but a place which is significant for us as our family's roots are said to be from the island of Kefalonia.

The Castle in Asos

 On our way to the top
 The beautiful gateway
 The bays from above, one blue- green the other ochre red
The old mansion with the crests suggesting it was our ancestors home.
We spent some of the afternoon admiring a yacht which was just the perfect size and build, dreaming when we could have one like that - all sorts of conjectures flying out about the guests on board. It was like flicking through Hello magazine but live on a beach !
In the evening we walked up to Asos castle and stopped off to admire the panoramic views from both sides of the bay. As the light was falling the colour of one bay became blue- green whereas in the next one with the tall rocks the water turned an ochre red.
On our return we opted for a table at Nefeli Anaint where we had the freshest tuna with local wine. The owner told us that the houses further up the village did indeed belong to our ancestors, the Angelatos family who were a well known family on the island  and Panayis Angelatos was the first consul in Cyprus of the Ionian when he moved there eventually with his family.